In the grand WNV tradition of taking things just, way too far, welcome to the first installment of Perpetuitink, a series in which we use some horrible source text to train a Neural Network to generate drawing prompts, and let it boss us around for a while, for the rest of our lives.
The premise starts simple and then quickly spirals out of control, as is tradition. Inspired by a combination of both the desire to practice the drawn arts (or learn how to even start doing them in the first place for one of us), and a post from A.I. Weirdness, we set out to let a computer give us some drawing tasks. A neural network is a fairly dumb tool of Machine Learning that is essentially a collection of guesses and checks against some given set of data until the machine gets really good at guessing. In the case of text, it consumes some large body, like a book, and tries to generate sequences of words that would fit in with it, ignoring the ideas that fail and remembering the ones that seem to work. One giant .txt file and 27 hours of self-training later, we have a functioning Brain. From there, we let it generate 100 prompts of five words or less, delete the ones that are just absolute nonsense (these things really don’t get that punctuation is not words), and choose the final 31 at random.
For the grand introduction of Perpetuitink, we decided to let this thing take over our lives for the entire month of January: thirty-one drawing prompts for thirty-one days. And what better way to illustrate just how fundamentally broken we are as people than to kick things off by feeding it the full source text of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, a story that is long rumored to be based on his stay in our hometown in Western Massachusetts. Lovecraft allegedly hated it there so, so much that it inspired some of the core themes of his cosmic horror genre. If nothing else, this experience should give you a fairly good look into why it is that we are the way we are here at WNV.
The rules of Perpetuitink are fairly loose for this first self-flagellation, just draw what the horrible Brain tells you to, whatever that means to you. One of us attempted to follow the core tenets of Inktober, while the other just struggled to get basic shapes to exist on his iPad. It is important to note that at no point until after January’s end and it became time to create these posts did we share or discuss our drawings. This must be suffered alone.
At the end of it all, we are left with 62 works of art to share with you, our loving audience, and rather than collapse that building on top of you all at once, trapping you in the rubble of our crumbled minds, it’s been broken up into three volumes. We
proudly present to you today the first of those installments.